Vegetarian Fried Rice – This healthy fried rice recipe is loaded with colorful veggies and delicious flavor. Serve as a side with all your favorites! (Vegan-Friendly, Gluten-Free)
Fried rice is one of my favorite last-minute dinners.
It can get a bad reputation as an unhealthy recipe, when really, homemade fried rice can be packed with nutrient-rich ingredients.
Take our vegetarian fried rice, for instance. This healthy fried rice recipe uses minimal oil, and ends up with about a 50/50 rice-to-veggies ratio. Which means lots of colorful veggie goodness in every bite.
My rice-loving children are happy, my veggie-loving self is happy, and we can easily dress this dish up with our favorite proteins to turn it into dinner. (Ding! Ding Ding! WIN ALL AROUND!)
Here’s what you’ll need to get started…
Ingredients For Vegetarian Fried Rice:
- Cooked White or Brown Rice. You can use cooked white or brown rice for this vegetarian fried rice. I recommend cooked, chilled rice made in advance. Fun fact: chilling the rice creates resistant starch, which reduces its impact on blood sugar.
- Avocado Oil (Or Butter, or Coconut Oil). I cook my fried rice in just a little bit of neutral-tasting oil. Avocado oil is my favorite, but other neutral oils work well. Or, you can use butter (not traditional, but flavorful!) or coconut oil (adds a sweet note).
- Red Bell Pepper. To start off the veggies, we’re using brightly colored red bell pepper. I love the flavor and color it adds to our healthy fried rice.
- Diced Carrots. Along with the peppers, we’ll add diced carrots. They cook for a similar amount of time, so cooking them together before adding the other veggies helps all the veggies be cooked to just the right softness.
- Frozen Peas. Using frozen peas means they’re picked at the peak of freshness (still contain most of their vitamins./nutrients!), and they cook quickly. I love the pop of green and sweetness they add.
- Frozen Corn. Ditto to the frozen corn! Cooks quickly and is easy to keep on hand for busy nights.
- Sliced Green Onions. I love the more mild flavor of green onions, so that’s what I choose to use for my vegetarian fried rice.
- Garlic & Ginger. Adding aromatics like garlic and ginger give your rice restaurant-quality taste without a lot of fuss. Try frozen garlic & ginger for amazing flavor and easy storage! (There’s no added ingredients, so they taste identical to fresh and won’t spoil!)
- Gluten-Free Tamari, Coconut Aminos (Or Soy Sauce). To get that signature flavor, you’ll add gluten-free tamari, coconut aminos (soy/grain free), or traditional soy sauce if gluten isn’t a problem for you. If using tamari or soy sauce, I recommend low-sodium whenever possible so you don’t overwhelm the dish with salt.
- Toppings or extras. To finish, you can add sunny side up eggs, scrambled eggs, crispy tofu, sriracha or fresh herbs!
Mix It Up! Try Adding One Of These Other Veggies To Your Vegetarian Fried Rice.
Pro Tip: Cook Veggies In Similar Groups. One trick for the best fried rice texture is to cook veggies in groups based on how quickly they cook. You’ll note that we start with the bell pepper and carrots, which need more time to cook, then adding in the quick-cooking veggies, like frozen corn and peas, fresh green onions, garlic, and ginger. If you’re adding extra veggies, make sure you add them to the carrots/peppers if they need more time or to the frozen veggies if they need less.
- Shredded Cabbage. Adding shredded cabbage, purple cabbage, or even leftover coleslaw mix is a great way to sneak in some extra veg or use up the last of what’s in the fridge. Purple cabbage looks extra pretty!
- Colorful Bell Peppers. You can also add color by using other colors (or a mix!) of bell peppers for this healthy fried rice.
- Onions. If you’ve got half an onion leftover from another recipe, vegetarian fried rice is a great way to use it up! Add it along with the peppers & carrots so it has enough time to cook.
- Snow Peas or Snap Peas. Cut up these peas into bite-sized pieces and add with the frozen veggies.
- Sliced Mushrooms. A few mushrooms add great earthiness and even more umami. A great way to use leftovers!
- Broccoli or Cauliflower. You can add leftover steamed or roasted broccoli and cauliflower, or chop up some fresh. If using raw/fresh broccoli or cauliflower, add along with the carrots/bell peppers. If using leftover cooked veggies, add them with them frozen veggies.
- Zucchini. If you like your zucchini soft, add with the peppers and carrots. If you like it with some bite, add with the frozen veggies.
FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The Best Vegetarian Fried Rice:
Picky Eater Tip. If you’ve got picky or particular eaters at your house, simply heat the rice up, cook the veggies separately, set the tamari/coconut aminos on the table and let everyone build their rice just how they like it.
Can I Use Brown Rice For Fried Rice? You can! It’ll have a heartier texture, but will also come with more protein and fiber, which can be a benefit for some.
Do You Use Hot Or Cold Rice For Fried Rice? Cold or cooled, cooked rice works best for fried rice. Cooling the rice has the added benefit of creating resistant starch, which means the rice won’t make your blood sugar spike the same way.
Can I Use Cauliflower Rice Instead? I’d recommend referencing this Cauliflower Fried Rice post for tips and ideas.
Serving Ideas. To elevate your vegetarian fried rice from side dish to main dish, top it with a sunny-side up egg (vegetarian) or some crispy tofu (vegan). Or, you can fold in scrambled eggs or leftover cooked tofu.